tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC September 13, 2012 2:00am-3:00am EDT
and we've got the debates starting in october. i don't think this obama campaign are going to let it go quietly through the ree debates. >> we will thanks romney pummels libya. let's start "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. let me start tonight with the horrible story of the courageous diplomat in libya. he acted heroically in overthrowing lives during ka dauf fee.
hours before the killing, romney issued a statement accusing president obama of having sympathized with those making the attacks and called it disgraceful. reince priebus went further, tweeting toll a similar attack on cairo. this echos past attacks from the right. what is new on the statement in libya is the wildness. the president never said he sympathized with the crowds in libya and egypt. mark halperin and howard fineman are political analysts for msnbc. how did romney get in this mess? look at the timeline of events. it started yesterday morning at 6:00 a.m. eastern time, noon in cairo. that's when the american embassy put out a statement saying it
condemns the statements by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of muslims. at about noon, the wall was breached and ripped down around 10:00 at night. secretary clinton released a statement condemning the violence. the romney camp sent a statement saying it's disgraceful that the obama administration's first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions but to sympathize with the waged the attacks. reince priebus tweeted, white obama sim pa thizs with attackers in egypt. sad and pathetic. a.p. first reports american ambassador in libya has been killed.
comic only in the political intrigue and perhaps stupidity here of mitt romney. >> well, this is what happened politically when you're a candidate without the facts and with few friends. okay? eats maybe tied the poll but doesn't have close friends in the politics business. he got the facts wrong and it's a classic case of jumping out of a fast ahead moving story, chasing a an immediate political gain. he's going after evangelicals and some other people, including some jewish voters who may be concerned in this phobic way of the class of civil lie izations. but he got the facts wrong. >> explain how he got the key fact wrong? >> the cairo embassy was not responding to the scale of the walls. the original response was long
before there was any action at the embassy. >> right. >> it was a perfectly fair and ju judicious statements. but then mitt romney gets caught up after the libyan assault, which may have been planned, may have involved old pro gadhafi forces or whatever and mitt romney gets discredited for jumping in too fast and doesn't have the friends in politics to defend him. very few defenders, other than the head of the rnc and ultra conservative republicans. john mccain is not defending him. most of the republican establishment is not defending him and the democrats are having their will with him including the president. >> mark, i know you've been talking about this on various platforms. i always see you as a fair minded guy. this is a strange conjunction, i should say, of a tragedy where apparently a very heroic, young
ambassador was killed. from the time he was in his peace corp and in the foreign service, getting killed basically in the line of duty trying to defend the people in his consulate and benghazi. on top of that, and distracting from it, is this sort of side show. explain how you put it together, all that happened today. >> first i want to say to the families of the four americans who died as well as american diplomats, this is a very tough day. we need them to be safe and being able to perform their jobs. the arab spring is going to involve the u.s. but also diplomatic efforts. it's a very tough day for america. in that context, i think that governor romney has every right and obligation to criticize the current administration's foreign policy but to go out without knowing all of the facts and to go off at a time when if he had something to say he could have said it at the white house. i think it's a mistake
politically. in the long run i think it's a mistake politically. it cuts him off from most republicans on capitol hill who, as howard said, have not been outspoken and i think it's the wrong thing to do. he's right to criticize and make points. if he has good points to make about how it's a failure of the president's leadership, let him do it in a day or two. >> mark is absolutely right. and it became a somber occasion than mitt romney realized at the time when he was trying to make cheap political points. >> that's what happens. >> some people have to understand of what happened here. first of all, the embassy in cairo, without any approval, put out a statement saying and the ambassador was killed over in ben benghazi, a totally
different place. then mitt romney doubled down on his statement. >> obviously sympathizing with those who had breached our embassy in europe instead of condemning their actions. it's never too early for the united states government to condemn attacks on americans and to defend our values. i think it's a terrible course for america to stand in apology for our values, that instead when our grounds are being attacked and being breached, that the first response to the united states must be outraged for the sovereignty of our nation. >> trying to get it straight about this, that was the most terrible statement i've heard in a long time.
he never sympathized with the mobs. he certainly never sympathized with someone taking the lives of americans and someone serving our government. his people -- not even his people, regular career service people in cairo without checking with washington simply put out a statement. they said that they could share that they are not part of this absolutely outrageous disrespect. >> i think -- i don't know what mark thinks, but that was to me a little painful and infuriating to watch. because i think mitt romney -- i'm going to give him enough credit for knowing that the president in this context didn't apologize for anything. did none of the things that -- >> he never sympathized with people. >> he never sympathized or apologized. mitt romney is pursing a political strategy that is so nakedly and obviously political. mark said maybe it will help him at some point. mitt romney is a guy with not a lot of teflon on him.
people don't really know who he is still. to me he doesn't help himself politically with that type of a statement in terms of who he is as a leader. >> i don't want to carry this so far today because it's already bad on him. maybe he's playing on the notion that somehow obama is with him, being one of them. you don't know how far he goes with this. but it certainly smacks a bit. president responded to romney's criticisms. let's watch. >> there's a broader lesson to attend here and governor romney tends to shoot first and aim later and as president one of the things i've learned is that you can't do that. it's important for you to make sure that the statements that you make are backed up by the facts and that you've thought through the ramifications before you make them. >> do you think it was irresponsible? >> i'll let the american people judge that.
>> let me go to you, mark, because you cover the campaign, the tick tock and game changing. how does this kind of thing happen, somebody in the romney camp gets the word of what is happening there and going on in benghazi. they say this statement come out, see a report on cbs that seems to put together the statement with the attack on the embassy and in that instance, the killing of the ambassador and then they put it all together or whatever, how does that work? that they come out with a statement so strong and sure, so early in this news development? >> well, i'll tell you what i'm quite certain at least partial leanne mated, which is, mitt romney got into this race in part because he thought the president was doing a bad job on the economy but also go read his book which describes what got him in the race. he feels that this incident reveals things about the president's leadership that he feels very strongly about. he feels that the president has
been too apologetic on behalf of the united states although people have.ed out that the president and others were not apologizing for the united states and thinks that the president is not managing foreign policy well. there is one issue, at least one factual issue, which is the release of the statement by the embassy in egypt, in cairo. there's a question about how that statement got put out. it is not the best worded statement. the people in the embassy might have had the original reasons for putting it out. there is a management question from the state department that needs to be looked into. how do statements get out that could cause a political problem. how it went from mitt romney to his staff deciding to do it aggressively, don't know yet. but li say, as i said at the beginning, there's legitimate things to look at here. to raise facts like this i think is misguided and you see in this campaign on both sides, even when things are done in haste, an unwillingness to back down, again, on both sides, because there's a kind of macho and test testosterone to not back down.
>> first of all, the president never sympathized, somebody in the embassy in cairo said, cool your jets. nothing about sympathy. they used the word disgraceful on something the president didn't even do. >> i'm going to wait for mark and john's book to get the tick tock of the exact chain of events. >> they will have to get that eventually. and my sense of it is that the foreign policy around mitt romney, who talk to him all the time, are not really foreign policy people, per se. they are stewart stevens, his media adviser, dan who is is now working with paul ryan. they share this clash of civilizations view about world affairs and also trying to paint
the president as the other, as the guy who has some kind of apologist agenda out there. i don't see mitt romney's career as much of a foreign policy guy. he never has been. he was plugged into the neocon view in 2007 and that's still where he is. >> yeah. and this rins eince priebus follows, that he's not one of us. and i said this yesterday. 37% of republicans right now in ohio, a key state in this election coming up in november, believes that the president was not born in this country. so this birtherism is not a theory. mark halperin, howard fineman, thank you. coming up, we all thought it was going to be about the economy, remember that, but overnight foreign policy is emerging as a crucible in the campaign and that may not be
good for romney who wanted to run on one thing, jobs. also, wait until you hear the latest riot of misinformation and downright nastiness from, guess who, the lady from alaska, sarah palin. and if the late great tim russert were here, he may say, ohio, ohio, ohio. the senate may be decided by the buckeye state. finally, let me finish tonight with mitt romney's pattern from the beginning to push for wars he never has to fight himself. this is "hardball," the place for politics.
sometimes when really bad things happen, hot things happen, sometimes cool words or no words is the way to go. >> a number of experts also rebuked romney. one senior foreign policy p hand called it an utter disaster and said it was romney's lehman moment to the financial crisis back in 2008. he said, they were just trying to score a cheap news cycle hit based on the embassy statement and now it's just completely blown up and a former aide said, it's bad. just on a factual level that the statement was not a response but one could make the statement precipitating and just calling it a disgrace is not really cutting it. not ready for primetime. we'll be right back.
mate are new to foreign policy. but from all that we've seen and heard, they want to take us back to an era of plus blustering and blundering. >> secretary of state clinton announcing the attack on the embassy in libya. >> this is an attack that should shock the conscience of people of all faiths around the world. this was an attack by a small and savage group, not the people or government of libya. but let me be clear, there is no justification for this. none. violence like this is no way to
honor religion or faith. >> foreign policy has been an after thought in this election so far but suddenly in one day it's emerged as a major issue that's likely to help the president. eugene robinson is a columnist for "the washington post" and let's talk about news development here. you're an editor of long stand being ing. this is a big one. the fumbling, the blundering that i call it by romney. >> the big headline, obviously, is what happened? the autrocity in libya, who was behind the thing in libya. the side bar, right? next to it. right there -- it's about romney. and the sort of, you know, shoot from the lip approach which, you know, and the questions of judgment and character that is
raises. domestic policies, you make an of yourself and then the character question. i mean, at a moment like that when you don't know what's going on, when you know america is under attack, we are all supposed to be americans. >> this is sort of the thing that newt gingrich would do. how can i attack the gut. >> mitt romney went out there and we all talk about the campaign and how can people let him do this? these words passed through his lips not once, but twice. and he's not a dumb guy. he had to know what he was doing and, as you noted earlier, had he to know that the stuff wasn't true and yet he said it any way. >> the new rules of engagement are, even if you know something about medicare, is it true? even if you know something about welfare, it's not true. >> there's something particularly foul about this
instance. we have the death and mitt romney is trying to exploit it in some way. and this is all of the narrative that plays to the crazy right. they probably do not think that obama who got bin laden is an apiecer or an apologizer. >> he used the word sympathizer. he's not appeasing the enemy, he's with them. >> he cannot only get out of this mode -- >> i raised this fight with the chairman of the rnc a few weeks ago. he's like the rest of them he's out there sympathizing with our enemy. the word sympathy, what is that about?
and if it's not out of desperation, which is at least a logical motive, then it's really dangerous. i mean, he must have known what he was doing and you must have made some sort of calculation to do it. if he didn't and just kind of blundered out there, that worries me about -- >> he's tired of wars. look, we've still got two going on with guys facing death every day out there. there's talk of -- we've p been behind the scenes in libya, behind the scene perhaps in syria. we may get into a war with iran. nobody wants a new war right now. >> right. >> but also there's a sense, although they don't want a new war, they don't want to think that we are fighting as best we can the wars that we're involved in the president is sympathizing with the enemy. i've never seen this kind of
attack. sympathizing with the viet-con, they've never done that. >> america is under a threat, i think you're right. it's a new low. it's also showing, this is one in a series of blunders. he made the mistake with the olympics and chinese dissidents. i think there is more than just the stupidity. everything has to be an east-west fight to the death but if we want to stir it up a little, it doesn't hurt. >> there's a smart neo-con but mitt romney isn't doing it. >> the new york times wrote about the foreign policy choices and does he really have a north star? what has struck both of his advisers and outside republicans is that in his effort to secure the nomination romney's public
kmebts have usually rejected mainstream republican orthodoxy. as insiders call the group led by john bolton. this is an interesting thing. there are hardliners, let's go to russia, let's go to war with iran. and then there's, what do we do with libya and these horrible situations of a mob attack? >> as if getting gadhafi out of power wasn't enough. so it's just -- i think it's just buzz words to get people predisposed to think that obama, because he's a democrat, because he's something else, is not really on the side of america.
>> let's talk foreign policy. because i want to do this in this segment. you think pick a president, a number of people to have a number of hats on you're a leader of your party. you're also head of state. which one of these hats is romney ready for? >> maybe none. >> i'm not sure that he could argue that he's ready to be the commander of chief in the world -- he doesn't seem to have the propensity of what these words mean when he speaks them. >> he hasn't given us evidence that he does. >> does he know what it means to get tough with another country with a metaphor, what that means? >> it sounds like campaign rhetoric that's intended to increase his chances of getting elected without the regard of the ramifications of what he's saying. >> fire on the mob, start firing on the libya mob. >> have you heard during the course of this campaign say
anything that was interesting about foreign policy? that made you think, hey, whether i agree or not, he thinks about this in a certain way. the answer is no. >> i have never thought his interests went beyond -- and this is fair, his faith, his family, and his business. and he has no curiosity of libya. up next, how romney's latest hit job fits into a line of attack that he's been honing for a long time and it isn't pleasant. this is "hardball," the place for politics. [ male announcer ] it seems like every company
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>> back to "hardball." time for the "sideshow." president obama is giving voters a way to boo his republican rivals. >> now, the republicans, they disagree with me. no, don't boo. vote. vote. >> don't boo. vote. president clinton hit the trail for obama. >> i think the health care plan is better. i know the higher education plan is better. i know the ergy plan is better and i know the economic plan is better and i know it will not amount to a hill of beans if you don't register and vote and get your friends to and do it.
>> nothing but a hill of beans. next, there's no shortage of outrage for mitt romney and his statements about libya. we just talked about that, that the president is somehow apologizing for america but really should we be surprised? >> i start with a fundamental conviction that america is the greatest nation in the history of the world. i will not apologize for america. we may have a president in looking at those principles is inclined to apologize for america. when the opportunity arose to defend freedom, he's either been lake late to the game or failed to apologize at all. >> he traveled around the globe to apologize. >> i will not apologize. >> never again apologize. >> have we ever had a president who was so eager to address the world with an apology? >> apologize. >> apologize.
>> apologizing. >> apologizing. >> apologize. >> i won't go around world apologizing. >> let me mention one more thing. that is, i believe in the greatness of the american people. >> well, excuse me. any way, romney's foreign policy seems to be built on the false notion that the president's only goal is to somehow apologize or appease take a look at this movie suitably titled "the butler." that's director lee daniels on the far left. up next, the presidential race to control the senate, is there a bigger battleground state that n ohio? you're watching "hardball."
taking ohio where he's trailing right now. it's not just hot at the national level. and this race is being watched as democrats try and keep hold of the u.s. senator, i've always looked at you as a perfect hit for ohio. you seem like an ohio democrat. i can't believe you're getting challenged but i guess everyone has to worry about the self-financers that come along with a lot of big bucks trying to buy it at the last minute. what does this race look like right now? >> any reporter would tell you that this is not a race if it were not for the outside groups sort of directed -- the bands directed by karl rove has spent $17 million in attack ads. we figure it's wall street, oil companies, chinese interests, some offshore companies that outsource and sell back into the u.s.
we don't know. we just pretty much guessed that because it's $17 million attacking a guy who stood up to him. so we expect that but we're fighting back and we're fighting back with a good grass roots effort. >> when you vote on these issues, whether they have to do with jobs or development or trade, can you tell when you catch that vote in the senate, when you put your hand up and say i, do you know at the time what kind of enemies you're making? >> i think so. the issue is you don't start calculating, well, if i vote this way, they are going to spend this million of dollars. you need to look at the politics through the prism of how do i fight for job. when it comes to auto industry, i know which side i'm on. when it comes to nafta and health care eaches, you know that you're on the side of the middle class and you wake up say, how do i help families that want to say, hey, if you vote this way, karl rove is going to come in with the industry and
come in with the wall street bank and spend $10 million. >> let's take a look at the presidential race. the "new york times" wrote this weekend about the credit being taken for the economic turnaround in ohio and other swing states performing better than the national average. republican governors are saying that the unemployment rates have plummeted because of their pro-business policies. and then there's mitt romney, a congenital optimism who finds himself in the uncomfortable position of having to be a total downer. it seems to me, watching it from the outside of ohio, that the auto industry is everything there. you're talking now t just detroit but what percentage owe their success to the american auto industry? >> $850,000 850,000 jobs are connected directly or indirectly
with autos. it's not just the plant that makes the chef chevies in youngs town but it's the machinists that fix cars and the people who drive the trucks that move the car parts or trucks around. it's a zillion car parts manufacturers and the chevy, much of is it made in ohio, from the transmission to the windows to the steel. it's clear when we fought for the auto rescue, that was all about jobs in ohio and that's really governor romney and my opponent's problem. they don't though how to back off that. >> the guy up against you, mandela, he was against the auto rescue, right? >> well, he called me unamerican for supporting it so i guess you
would come to that conclusion, yeah. >> i think you're going to like this ad, senator. trying to portray romney successfully as a businessman that cares more about the bottom line than the average men or women out there working. let's look at this ad. >> out of the blue one day we were told to build a 30-foot stage, gathered the guys and we built that 30-foot stage not knowing what it was for. just days later, all three shifts were told to assemble in the warehouse, a group of people walked down on that stage, and told us that the plant is now closed and all of you are fired. i looked both ways, i looked at the crowd and we all just lost our jobs. we don't have an income. mitt romney made over $100
million by shutting down our plant and devastated our lives. turns out, that when we built that stage, it was like building my own coffin. and it just made me sick. >> translate that ad to what you know about your state and the job situation in ohio. >> well, i translate it this way. from 2000 to 2010, our country lost a third of its manufacturing jobs, five million jobs. 65 million plants in the u.s. shut down. since 2010, once the auto rescue and recovery accident started to take hold, we've gained nationally 5,000 manufacturing jobs. our unemployment rate in ohio bent from 10.5% to under 7.5%. not good enough. far too many people out of work. but people in ohio, we make things. we're the third leading manufacturing state in the country. we're coming back. we're making -- we're big in aerospace. we're good in solar energy.
and all of that and there's a real manufacturing strategy in this country that we're working on together that is going to make a real difference in ohio. >> sherrod brown, good luck in this race. i dmintd saying it. any way, up next, sarah palin's absurd assault on president obama. it doesn't get much worse than this. listen to her coming up. you thought reince priebus was bad? this is "hardball," the place for politics. those little things still get you. for you, life's about her. but your erectile dysfunction - that could be a question of blood flow. cialis tadalafil for daily use helps you be ready anytime the moment's right. you can be more confident in your ability to be ready. and the same cialis is the only daily ed tablet approved to treat ed and symptoms of bph, like needing to go frequently or urgently. tell your doctor about all your medical conditions and medications, and ask if your heart is healthy enough for sexual activity.
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we are back. sarah palin's at it again over the top and out of her depth, apparently. she used last night's attack on the u.s. embassies in libya and egypt as a chance to make juvenile attacks on president obama. there was this post on facebook around mitd dnight. we already know that president obama likes to speak softly to our enemies. if he doesn't have a big stick, maybe it's time for him to grow one. with us is joan walsh, salt lon on's editor at large and ron reagan, also an msnbc political analyst. i'm going to hold off from he will commenting on that one because i've never really heard a politician talk like that and i really have nothing to say, out of decency. but you might, joan, because you
are wildly gutsy. >> yes, she has -- >> what goes on here? >> dr. freud to the white courtesy telephone, that's all i can say, chris. why she's talking about the president growing a big stick is beyond me. but she does havehas. and she is the person, those early sarah palin rallies in 2008, they were proto-tea party rallies. she really was the person that pioneered this notion that the president palled around with terrorists and that he didn't see america the same way that we did. so this is just a continuation. and the really sad thing is that now we have the candidate for president, mitt romney, sounding more like sarah palin, than john mccain. and it's really kind of frightening. >> you know, war -- that metaphor drives me crazy. war is real, people get killed, relatives lose loved ones, countries are destroyed, ron. the idea that war is a metaphor of testosterone or macho is sick. sick.
what are we supposed to do? just mow down the crowds? just start shooting everybody, killing everybody in a country we want to start another war in? imagine the united states, if they had done -- what macho would have said. everybody, like the boston massacre, just mow down everybody trying to cross the embassy walls, just kill them all. >> right. >> what's sad, also, is that we're actually paying any attention to sarah palin. let's be clear here, sarah palin's constituency are people who wear red rubber noses and bells on their shoes. but what's noteworthy here is that sarah palin speaks for, what, maybe half of the republican party. and as joan mentioned, she sounds -- and if she and mitt romney sound just alike right now. >> well, you just said two different things, ron, my friend. you said that she doesn't speak for anybody. then -- or she doesn't have a constituency, and then you said she speaks for half the party. >> no, no, no. i'm saying we shouldn't pay attention to her because her constituency are ignorant and foolish people, but ignorant and foolish people make up about
half of the republican party right now. that's what i'm saying. and that's the only thing noteworthy about what she's doing. >> bucko, they also have tv sets. they also have tv sets. >> well, that's fine. i hope they hear what i said about them. >> they certainly did, ron. anyway, fox news host bill o'reilly asked palin last night whether the romney campaign should launch more, catch this, more personal attacks against president obama. there's a guy bear baiting. let's watch. >> should mitt romney go after barack obama more -- in a more personal way? should he use words like "incompetent," "dangerous," "socialist," those kinds of buzz words that would get an enormous amount of attention, that would lock people in. >> well, and they're not just buzz words, those are accurate descriptions of our commander in chief. >> so you're saying, yes, he should do that? >> yes, he should be very
aggressive and he should be adamant in his attacks on obama's record, which is so dismal. his plan or lack of a plan, of obama's, to get us out of these woeful times, yes. he needs to be severely aggressive. >> i don't know what you think of that, but it seemed like one of those acts on the old ed sullivan show when the guy would come on with his animal act. there he is bear baiting her, saying, would you use words like this? and she does, she does exactly what he's trained her into doing. >> i guess they think that makes good tv. and nothing bill o'reilly does shocks me or surprises me, really, but every once in a while, he has like a little flash of decency and a little flash of intelligence too -- >> you know, i'm with you on that. i'm with you on that. >> it's rare. >> i like bill o'reilly in a weird way, because he's sort of a rough customer, but he's got brains.
here's john kerry telling one of the really funny jokes i've heard in a long time at the convention in dnc, then there's former governor palin responding to it. let's watch them in order. >> he's even blurted out the preposterous notion that russia is our number one political, geopolitical foe. folks, sarah palin said she could see russia from alaska, mitt romney talks like he's only seen russia by watching "rocky 4." >> i think he diminished himself by, um, by even mentioning my name. how does he even know my name? i mean, aren't these guys supposed to be these bigwig elites that don't waste their time on the little people like me? me, representing the average american. >> she was the vice presidential nominee of the republican party four years ago and she's playing, what? i don't get it. somebody you never heard of. >> well, i think we all diminish ourselves by mentioning sarah
palin, frankly, to tell you the truth. but what this speaks to is the amateur hour quality of the foreign policy of the republican party. you don't have to go as far as sarah palin to get to out of their league. mitt romney is out of his league. he proved it when he went to england to the olympics and he's really proved it over this last business in libya and egypt with his completely out of -- i don't know what he was thinking yesterday. >> you know, ron and joan, i can spend all night talking to you too. what a pair. thank you both. you're my chums. anyway, joan walsh, ryan reagan, what a duo. when we return, let me finish with mitt romney, always pushing for more so he doesn't have to fight himself. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics.
let me finish tonight with this. do people ever change? i wonder. back when he was in college, mitt romney demonstrated for the war in vietnam, but he did not go so far as to demonstrate for the war, in the war. like others, he liked the idea of the vietnam war, not the reality. here he is again today playing war hawk. he wants us to be tougher with russia, tougher with china, tougher looking backward in libya, tougher in syria, and tougher in iran. toughness in a metaphor for mr. romney. why did he say what he did last night. you have to ask. why did he put out word that president obama was sympathizing with the militants attacking our embassy in cairo and our consulate in benghazi.